I have been baking layer cakes since I was six years old with tutelage from my mother. I always had success baking but in the last few years my layer cakes have been disappointing. The layers do not rise completely and are lopsided. Our old gas range was very erratic so I assumed it was the oven. Then a few years ago we splurged and purchased a convection range. I had always heard they were great for baking as they circulate the air evenly throughout the oven. The fan in the rear of the oven significantly cuts down on the inside space but I figured it was worth the compromise. OK, are you bored yet? I’ll wrap this up soon.
Last week I baked a Devils Food Chocolate Cake, adjusted the temperature for convection and the cake turned out lopsided and did not rise completely... again! The cake baked too quickly on the convection setting with the cake tester coming out clean before the suggested baking time. Numerous times we have checked the level on the range so I surmise that the fan blowing on the thin cake batter caused the uneven layers.
So when the cake did not turn out as planned, instead I made Mini Heart Cakes similar to these Mini Vanilla Heart Cakes. I cut out the shapes with a large heart cookie cutter, smothered them with Chocolate Ganache and garnished them with colorful sprinkles. No one would know except that I just spilled the beans! I will be going back to the regular bake setting for my next cake. To the bakers out there, I would be interested to hear about your experiences with convection baking. Please leave a comment below.
Devils Food Cake (two layers)
Heart Cookie Cutter (5 inch)
Devils Food Cake
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1½ cups Sugar
2½ oz Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cups Flour), sifted
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1¼ cups Buttermilk
Buttermilk Substitute: Add a little over 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to 1¼ cups milk.
Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans
In a separate bowl mix Flour, Baking Soda and Salt. Set aside.
Cream Shortening and Sugar until fluffy. Add Eggs. Add melted Chocolate.
Stir in flour mixture alternately with Buttermilk.
Pour into cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool.
Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutter.
[This is the Popular Devils Food Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tbsp Coffee (or 1 tsp instant coffee granules)
Heat ingredients in a glass bowl over pot of simmering water until melted. Pour over cakes.
[This is the Chocolate Ganache recipe from Ina Garten at Food Network.com]
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